I have spent the last two days in the garden and it has been lovely. I did consider popping over the Malvern Hills to visit some gardens in Leominster this afternoon but by lunchtime I had really got stuck into planting up part of the woodland border so I stayed put and finished the job. This year is the first year for ages that I remember being really content in the garden. I don’t know whether it’s because I have been pottering in the evening so more of the jobs are being done or whether it’s because I have stopped charging around exhibiting at shows and reduced the number of groups I go to or whether it because I haven’t got a major project this year but I definitely feel more relaxed and I am enjoying gardening, instead of rushing around trying to achieve half a dozen things at a time.
Yesterday was very overcast with the odd shower, not really conducive to weeding and pottering so instead I decided to face the horror that is the collection of seed trays and pots in the cold frames. I love sowing seeds and get very excited when they germinate but I’m not so good at looking after the seedlings and growing them on. As I said to a friend recently if I succeeded with everything I germinated I would have a botanical garden by now so one of my objectives this year is to do better. I have two 3 tier cold frames and one of them is home to an assortment of pots and trays in which seeds have been sown and then forgotten. The majority of them date back to 2014 and some of them contain bulb seedlings which I wait until the second year to pot up. So I spent probably 4 hours on Sunday pricking out and potting up. There were still some pots with no sign of life so they have gone up the top of the garden to benefit from all weathers and then if they aren’t doing anything probably by the winter they will be chucked. I was thrilled though to discover 3 pots of Arisaema seedlings, some Paeonia cambessedesii seedlings, as well as fritillaries and acer seedlings.
Of course one pot of seedlings soon becomes one tray of seedlings etc so it was a real jigsaw getting everything back into the cold frames and greenhouse. I did ditch a couple of pots that were obviously never going to germinate and some of the older seedlings are having to toughen up on the patio but in the end it all got put back together.
Today, Bank Holiday Monday, I started with planting out some Petunia exserta seedlings grown from seed from Special Plants. This led to me weeding the Big Border which led to me relocating an epimedium which then led to me considering the woodland border and the space where the Acer previously was. The old rhododendron only had one flower this year and has become very leggy and one sided due to the shade produced by the vast willow. Now the willow has been cut back and there is so much more sky I am trying to get the rhododendron to bush out better. I pruned it back and this of course revealed some more planting area. One thing led to another and by mid-afternoon I had added two small rhododendrons that I got for my birthday and a Vestia foetida which I bought at the garden visit on Saturday. I also added a couple of epimediums – well it would be rude not to take advantage of more shady space wouldn’t it.
It doesn’t look much in this photograph but I am really pleased. I had planned to trim the box pyramid but I love the bright green new shoots too much so they have been left for another week.
I even did some weeding in the front garden which I hate working in and for once I am really pleased with the driveway border. The geums that went in last year are coming into their own although I would have preferred it if the orange geums could have been as strong as the red ones which seem to dominate the border at the moment. I have a new fondness for orange geums as I think they add wonderful spots of highlight which really lift a border.
As you can see the Achemilla mollis is about to flower so there will be a limey green haze along the side of the border which links to the marjoram on the other side of the border. I just need to try to continue this style of planting along the end of the lawn where the soil gets much drier. As readers will know I have been considering digging up the front lawn but for now I have decided to be kind to myself and not give myself too much additional work so the lawn stays a little longer.
As you can see its all looking very lush and full but it will be interesting to see how good it looks when the late spring Aquilegia and Alliums are over.